Home General Strap on a seatbelt NATO – Phenomenato

Strap on a seatbelt NATO – Phenomenato

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Phenomenato is a project started and produced in Hungary. This is what happens when one person has an idea, and people on the internet encourage him… and good things result.

The construction of a NATO strap seems overengineered to some wearers, who prefer a single strap. Here, there’s a secondary portion attached, common of so-called Milspec straps. The main portion of the strap threads through the bars between the lugs, and then a retainer length of strap with a keeper at its end captures the strap as it proceeds along its way around the wrist to meet with the buckle. Some people think that if a bar were to fail, the watch will be captured by the strap on the other bar. Others suggest that on many straps, the watch head could slide off a strap as as you removed it, and the secondary strap prevents this from happening. I know this seems like it shouldn’t be a concern, but I’ve experienced it on single layer straps.

Let’s talk about the Phenomenato specifically. The fabric is a little under a mm thick. It feels substantial, yet flexes easily. The hardware is thicker than any of the loops on other NATOs (not ZULUs) I own. The squared off loops are also a just a little under 1mm thick. They’re very nice, and everything about this reeks of high quality.

Phenomenato is available in two widths, 20 and 22 mm, two hardware finishes, polished or brushed stainless steel, and in three color ways: 5 stripe Bond HD, gray, dark blue, or black. Let me show you all of them:

Black Polished, Blue Polished, Gray Brushed, Bond HD 5 Stripe Brushed

One of the things I’m always concerned about with a NATO strap is discomfort due to the heat sealing, either on the edges, pin-buckle holes, or the nylon thread stitching ends being melted. I’ve had some bad ones from other sellers that I just can’t wear because they scratch against the wrist. Here, that’s not a problem. It’s very comfortable. I understand it’s hard to rationalize a piece of nylon costing what’s being asked in light of what you may have spent on the watch, but there are a few things to go over here:

  1. Is high quality worth paying for, and how do you determine value for money. I feel like every part of the strap has had attention paid to it. That’s a good feeling.
  2. The hardware is superior to hardware used on more commonly available NATO straps and other sellers’ “seatbelt” straps.
  3. The Omega strap, which is quite expensive, has hardware that is nearly the same thickness (it’s been a while since I had one in my hands, so I’m comparing off my photographs and memory) and the fabric feels as thick, but was slightly more flexible if my memory isn’t completely faulty.
Omega SPECTRE 007 on the Omega seatbelt strap. This is the inspiration.

So I verified this. I borrowed the Omega Seamaster 007 SPECTRE Limited Edition watch on the NATO 5 stripe strap. Here’s what I learned:

  1. The Omega seatbelt strap is perfection. It’s slightly more flexible than Phenomenato ‘s even though it measured slightly thicker. (.1 mm thicker). It’s what made me start chasing seatbelt strap natos. The first time I put it on last year, I couldn’t believe the difference between it and the standard nylon NATO straps.
  2. The heat sealed ends of the Omega are nearly smooth. The Phenomenato’s ends are only mildly more noticeable.
  3. The hardware is similar to the Omega. The three squared off loops are just about identical. The pin and buckle clasp is shaped differently, but it’s also not the standard flat clasp you find on every other NATO strap.

I do like the woven Phenomenato tag sewn inside the strap. You can tell there’s a lot of care that goes into these.

There’s a lot right here. Maybe it’s out of budget for a strap for you, maybe it isn’t. But it’s very much not wrong – it’s been done with care, and for people who want one, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.

The short length was fine on my smallish wrist. The lengths are 29.5 and 33mm, buckles inclusive. And yes, I could probably take an iron to my white cloth background.

There was one concern. For me, I’m highly sensitive to the sensation of scratching on the wrist. Of the five straps we received for review, this was only an issue on one of the straps. I usually look for straps with waxed cotton thread, but you won’t find NATO or ZULU straps like that, unless they’re made of leather. That’s the sort of thing you find on leather straps with the two loop stitches outboard of the springbars.

The Omega strap was superior, but it isn’t likely that I’ll spend $125 to $180 on one. The Phenomenato comes very, very close, at a significant price reduction. It’s not the very most affordable seatbelt strap available, but it’s a darn good one. The Phenomenato is available in 20 and 22mm widths, in two lengths, and in gray, black, or 5 stripe, with brushed or polished hardware from phenomenato.com.

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Phenomenato NATO straps
  • Price: pricing starts at $40
  • Who we think it might be for: You like a NATO strap and want one of the most comfortable with best hardware available.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I wonder what the difference in construction is between this and the Omega that makes the Omega slightly more comfortable. Seems like this would be worth further study.
  • What spoke to me the most about this strap: The promise of comfort.

Tech Specs from Phenomenato

  • width 20, 22mm
  • material: nylon with brushed or polished stainless steel hardware
  • closure: pin and buckle clasp

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